The Difference Between Identity Access Management (IAM) and Identity Governance Administration (IGA)

June 6, 2023

Written by TJ Rubeck

As the scope and use of digital identities and access expands, so do the risks associated with managing them. With more and more applications required for employees to do their jobs, granting and managing access rights becomes increasingly challenging for organizations. As a result, Identity Access Management (IAM) and Identity Governance Administration (IGA) solutions have become crucial for IT leaders looking to improve security, increase efficiency, and enhance compliance. 

To effectively combat these risks, it's important to understand the differences between IAM and IGA solutions and how they can be used to manage digital identities and access.

Identity Access Management

Identity Access Management (IAM) is the discipline that ensures the right people have access to the right resources at the right times for the right reasons (Gartner). This includes creating, managing, and tracking digital identities as well as ensuring they have access to the necessary systems and applications throughout the organization. One of the best defenses against bad actors is a zero-trust security framework and IAM can serve as the foundation of that framework. 

A key aspect of IAM is identifying users and controlling their access to specific systems within the organization. IAM solutions offer a more flexible approach compared to traditional methods by making it easier to grant access to the right people at the right time and place. 

By centralizing control of digital identities with IAM and implementing role-based identity management, organizations can streamline and automate many tasks involved in managing access. Streamlining control of these processes helps to reduce human error, strengthen identity-related security, and increase levels of efficiency. 

Identity Governance Administration


Identity Governance Administration (IGA) refers to the tools and processes that are used to manage and control access rights across the different systems and applications within an organization. These solutions are designed to provide a clear link between digital identities and the access rights that they hold. 

One of the most crucial functions of IGA solutions is their ability to monitor, control, and audit user access within the organization. This helps organizations to ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive information and systems, and that access rights are being managed in compliance with industry standards and regulations.

Implementing Identity Governance tools alongside your IAM solution grants several benefits, such as the ability to trigger entitlement changes within your IAM system based on the results of an IGA access audit certification. Not only does this result in increased efficiency, it also helps to reduce the risk of mistakes and improves overall security. 

Overall, IGA is an essential component of an identity security strategy as it ensures that IAM policies are enforced properly and that any unnecessary permission is detected and addressed.


The Difference Between IAM and IGA


Identity Access Management (IAM) and Identity Governance Administration (IGA) are two distinct but closely related disciplines that work together to ensure secure access to systems and applications within an organization.

IAM enables the right individuals to access the right resources by managing and tracking digital identities, authentication, and authorization. It helps manage and automate the entire lifecycle of an identity, from the initial onboarding process to de-provisioning accounts upon the transfer or termination of employment. This makes it easier to provide access to the right people at the right time and place.

IGA, on the other hand, focuses on ensuring that the IAM policies and procedures are defined, implemented, and enforced. It serves as an essential component of any IAM initiative by providing oversight and governance to ensure that IAM policies are being followed and that access rights are being managed properly. In addition to providing oversight and governance, IGA also allows organizations to meet compliance requirements by providing audit and certification capabilities. These capabilities assist in resolving access discrepancies and minimizing unnecessary access across digital identities. 

In short, while IAM focuses on granting and managing access to systems and applications, IGA focuses on auditing and certifying what users do once they gain access to those systems. Together they provide a comprehensive approach to managing digital identities and the access they hold, ultimately leading to higher efficiency and security in your organization. 


Creating and managing identities has always been a task owned by IT and Security teams. With the never-ending increase of applications and technologies being implemented in organizations worldwide, IT and Security teams are busier than ever, and traditional methods of management are no longer an efficient use of resources.

In a world where the majority of cybersecurity incidents are caused by a compromised credential, identity security is no longer an option. Whether you are looking to remove unauthorized access to limit internal threats, identify and manage users, control and certify access to meet certain compliance requirements, or simply increase the efficiency of digital identity administration, both IAM and IGA solutions can drive value at your organization. 

At Idenhaus, we have experienced consultants that partner with you to assess your organization’s current state and deliver the strategies required for the successful implementation of an Identity Access Management and Governance solution. Want to learn more? Contact us to speak with one of our specialists or schedule your IAM assessment and we will be in touch!

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